Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.

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      2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.

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      3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—
      4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

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      5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.

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          6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,

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          7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

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              8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

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              9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

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              10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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              Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians

              11 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,”a even though I am nothing.

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                • t 12:11 - Or "the most eminent apostles"
                  12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.

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                  13 How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!

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                  14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

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                  15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?

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                  16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!

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                  17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you?
                  18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?

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                  19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.

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                  20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

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                  21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

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